Noel Coward

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brendangcarroll

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Noel Coward

PostTue Nov 10, 2015 9:10 am

A Birthday Gala Tribute Noel Coward (1970 TV. Broadcast)

In 1970, NBC broadcast a star studded birthday gala for Noel Coward. It featured numerous artists all associated with Coward, was attended by HRH Princess Margaret and the main guest was Coward himself.

Does anyone know if it survives on film or tape, or if it has ever been released commercially?

I'd be grateful for any information. IMDB only lists those who appeared.
"Korngold has so much talent he could give half away and still have enough left for himself..." Giacomo Puccini (1921)
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Westengland

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Re: Noel Coward

PostWed Nov 11, 2015 6:31 am

I would guess that it's the BBC production called Noel Coward's Birthday Party, broadcast on BBC 1 on Tuesday, 16 December 1969 (note that this would have been without commercial breaks).

Excerpts from NCBP have been used in subsequent programmes about Coward, usually parts of his speech in reply to the tribute (which was the culmination of Coward's late 1960s "rehabilitation" as a playwright and performer). Therefore it appears to exist in the BBC archives. It is something that could be added to a Coward box-set as an extra (and may have been).
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brendangcarroll

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Re: Noel Coward

PostWed Nov 11, 2015 7:05 am

Thanks for the reply.

I believe the event you're describing is the special 70th Birthday Luncheon held at the Savoy Hotel and which was indeed broadcast by the BBC back then.

This event is possibly the special Midnight Matinee held at the Phoenix Theatre in the same week.
I believe it could be this because of the presence of Princess Margaret who didn't attend the lunch.

This matinee was also broadcast on BBC (having been filmed) but no copy seems to have survived in the archive, which is why the NBC transmission piqued my interest.

So....the search goes on!

Thanks for your interest. I'm hoping someone here may know where the old NBC archives are now held.
"Korngold has so much talent he could give half away and still have enough left for himself..." Giacomo Puccini (1921)
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wich2

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Re: Noel Coward

PostWed Nov 11, 2015 9:25 am

Brendan, no luck with that one. But do you know of this 1974 profile?

http://www.atvaudio.com/ata_search.php

And here, some radio material:

http://www.radiogoldindex.com/frame1.html

-Craig
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Re: Noel Coward

PostWed Nov 11, 2015 9:57 am

A search of the BBC Genome for "Noel Coward" between 1969-1970 doesn't find any other BBC programme than Noel Coward's Birthday Party that could be "a star-studded birthday gala" for Coward or that could be the programme that NBC broadcast, nor is there a newspaper listing for an equivalent ITV programme for December 1969. I don't think that NBC would have made their own Coward programme in London if they knew the BBC or ITV were making something that they could buy.

I assume that The Noel Coward Society would be able to answer your inquiries. NCS stated on its blog, in 2007, that it has a "recording" of the Midnight Matinee that it was considering releasing.

Noel Coward has been so popular for so long and will remain popular that I think that you'll be able to find the information you want eventually. Meanwhile, as I mentioned, Noel Coward's Birthday Party could be released with other Coward BBC material in the future, especially if people ask for it to be.
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brendangcarroll

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Re: Noel Coward

PostThu Nov 12, 2015 1:15 am

Thanks for the considerate answers, guys.

I am very surprised that TV listings don't mention the transmission of the Midnight Matinee because I definitely saw it back then (yes I am that old). I think it was shown on a Sunday night on ITV.

My reason for being interested in this NBC telecast is that it was only recently that a colour tape of David Frost's special interview programme with Coward (during which he plays the piano!) was discovered in America (the UK black and white tape is lost) and this has now been issued on DVD. So, I was suddenly hopeful that possibly, this NBC item was a US copy of an equally lost British TV recording.

I have written to the Coward Estate in the past about this and they never even gave me the courtesy of a reply, so....I guess I must just keep hoping. The fact that not one frame has ever surfaced in any of the many documentaries about Coward over the years, probably means that it does not exist...but one never knows!

Cheers!
"Korngold has so much talent he could give half away and still have enough left for himself..." Giacomo Puccini (1921)

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